Here’s the fifth part of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s quotes with my commentary. Read parts one, two, three, and four. The quotes are taken from his “I Am That” book. 

All the endless arguments about the mind are produced by the mind itself, for its own protection, continuation and expansion. It is the blank refusal to consider the convolution and convulsions of the mind that can take you beyond it.

The mind attempts to preserve itself through keeping you busy with further questions or thoughts. If we just see the busyness of the mind as external from us, as not us, it becomes possible to detach from it to the degree that our real nature is understood.

Experience, however sublime, is not the real thing. By its very nature it comes and goes. Self-realization is not an acquisition. It is more in the nature of understanding. Once arrived at, it cannot be lost. On the other hand, consciousness is changeful, flowing, undergoing transformation from moment to moment. Do not hold on to consciousness and its contents. Consciousness held, ceases. To try to perpetuate flash of insight, or a burst of happiness is destructive of what it wants to preserve. What comes must go. The permanent is beyond all comings and goings. Go to the root of all experience, to the sense of being. Beyond being and not-being lies the immensity of the real. Try and try again.

Sometimes Nisargadatta Maharaj was told by some of the students that they had the glimpse of enlightenment but then it went away, and all was left was memory. He would say that this wasn’t true enlightenment but some blissful experience. He told not to try to extend such experiences but to go beyond them. Once you touch that which is beyond experience, you will never be the same again.

If only they go deeply into the fact of being and discover the vastness and the glory to which “I am” is the door, and cross the door and go beyond, their life will be full of happiness and light. Believe me, the effort needed is as nothing when compared with the discoveries arrived at.

Nisargadatta says that even if a person doesn’t meditate but simply fully believes in his words (that one is not the body), even this will eventually make a person liberated. This is great news for those who cannot meditate due to the busy mind or time constraints.

The deepening and broadening of self-awareness is the royal way – call it mindfulness, or witnessing, or just attention – it is for all. None is unripe for it and none can fail.

Eventually every single person wanting to get liberated will. Each ripens at their own time. Nisargadatta says not to fuss about it because when the person is ripe liberation must happen – none can stop it.

You are accustomed to think of yourselves as bodies having consciousness that you just cannot imagine consciousness having bodies. Once you realize that bodily existence is but a state of mind, a movement in consciousness, that the ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal, and that, when in touch with consciousness, you are the witness only, you will be able to withdraw beyond consciousness altogether.

Bodily existence is just a movement in consciousness, like a dream is. And yet when it’s happening we think it to be the only reality there is. Once we truly understand that our bodily existence is just a state of mind and we are the witnesses identified with it, we can detach from these happenings and look at our real state.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness. That is all. Very little can be conveyed in words. It is the doing as I tell you that will bring light, not my telling you. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that count.

It’s so easy to get lost in the doing, in the experiences, yet if one gets into the habit of being aware of being the witness of all that happens, it will eventually set one free.

Learn to separate yourself from the image and the mirror, keep on remembering: I am neither the mind, not its ideas. Do it patiently and with conviction and you will surely come to the direct vision of yourself as the source of being – knowing, loving, eternal, all-embracing, all-pervading. You are the infinite focused in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly and you will come to see the infinite only.

Nisargadatta gives so many different ways to approach liberation, and one of them – always making sure to separate yourself from the contents of the mind.

Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and sorrowing, or go out whole-heartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing – taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.

This is the story of the world. People keep seeking for themselves outside of themselves. They never stop to investigate what actually they want to find. This external seeking is never satisfying, yet when one turns within, desires start falling away, and one becomes happy to just be.

There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing, be. No climbing mountains and sitting in caves. I do not even say: “be yourself”, since you do not know yourself. Just be. Having seen that you are neither the “outer” world of perceivables, nor the “inner” world of thinkables, that you are neither body nor mind – just be.

Yet again Nisargadatta Maharaj provides a way of liberation. Firmly knowing you cannot be anything perceived in your mind or in the world, just relax into being.

(…) at the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are. Just as a dislocated joint pains only as long as it is out of shape, and is forgotten as soon as it is set right, so is all self-concern a symptom of mental distortion which disappears as soon as one is in normal state.

This is one of my favorite quotes of Nisargadatta. He so expertly explains that as long as there’s some sort of uneasiness at the back of our minds, or even desires, it means we are taking ourselves to be something that we are not. Once we rest in ourselves, we are at home, so all such imbalances disappear.

Q: How can I just be? Changes are inevitable.

A: Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not subject to them. You are the changeless background against which changes are perceived.

Most of his students were totally identified with doing, so it was hard for them to understand that everything happens because of everything else, that the bodies cannot help but taking action, but that this is all a play they are presently identified with.

Of course the self based on memory is momentary. But such self demands unbroken continuity behind it. You know from experience that there are gaps when your self is forgotten. What brings it back to life? What wakes you up in the morning?There must be some constant factor bridging the gaps in consciousness. If you watch carefully you will find that even your daily consciousness is in flashes, with gaps intervening all the time. What is in the gaps? What can there be but your real being, that is timeless; mind and mindlessness are one to it.

The world is always changing but the witness always remains the same. This witness is the mirrored-in-the-mind awareness which is our true essence.

Q: Even in unreal there is a touch of reality.

A: Yes, the reality you impart to it by taking it to be real. Having convinced yourself, you are bound by your conviction. When the sun shines, colors appear. When it sets, they disappear. Where are the colors without the light?

It is in the experience of many people that the more attention you give to something, the more prominent it becomes in your life. For example, if you focus on visualizing and getting what you want, you eventually do; yet if you focus on problems in your life, they get magnified. When we turn away from our complete experience, all of it loses its sense of reality.

(…) by desiring you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state.

Even the mental content is eventually reflected in one’s face. It’s told that from around the age of 30 the face starts clearly showing one’s habitual thoughts. Desires energetically shape you too as what you think of you vibrate as. Thus, when all of desires are gone, your true nature shines unobstructed.

The total is open and available, but you will not take it. You are attached to the little person you think yourself to be. Your desires are narrow, your ambitions – petty. After all, without a centre of perception where would be the manifested? Unperceived, the manifested is as good as the unmanifested. And you are the perceiving point, the non-dimensional source of all dimensions. Know yourself as the total.

The opinion about one’s self is reflected in people’s actions, beliefs and desires. Yet even the greatest desires are small in the eyes of a liberated one, who understands oneself as the background in which everything is enabled to take place.

People are afraid to lose what they have through liberation not understanding that what they have is insignificant compared to the remembering of one’s true nature.

Freedom comes through renunciation. All possession is bondage.

Owning anything adds responsibilities, you start worrying about losing it or about its maintenance. Yet Nisargadatta Maharaj also says that renunciation can be mental too, when you own yet you are not attached to your possessions.

You create the world and then worry about it. Becoming selfish makes you weak. If you think you have the strength and courage to desire, it is because you are young and inexperienced. Invariably the object of desire destroys the means of acquiring it and then itself withers away. It is all for the best, because it teaches you to shun desire like poison.

The entire world is running after desires until they are destroyed by them. Be it sex, alcohol, smoking, or eating sweets, what is the most pleasurable to humans eventually ends up depleting them, giving them diseases and eventual death.

This in itself shows that desires are of the nature of death. We believe that our happiness lies in them when in fact our destruction does. Observing this insanity of the world can give us more than enough examples why constant pursuit of desires leads to our fall.

People’s attention is external so they naturally think that external things will give them satisfaction but it’s when we find our true nature that we become permanently satisfied and at peace.